An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Bad, The Good and The Bad Timing

Ever had one of those moments when the timing could not be any worse? Yes I hear. Everyone must have at some point, right. What about the opposite when the timing is perfect. Well for a couple of times over the weekend there were a few of those experiences. The events were not solely mine I might add, but I was participating in all of them. Let me explain.

It started on Friday night. After three days of being cooped up in a training workshop with all my co-workers learning accountancy software .. fun, fun, fun .. we decided to head in to the Aviat club for some well earned liquid refreshment.

John decided to make use of his vehicle to take me and Paul in. George was going in separately and would be in the club before us. On the way in John decided to big note about his prowess as a motor mechanic. "Why pay hundreds of kina, when you can do it yourself", good point. The problem in hindsight now it seems is that he may be able to fix his cars mechanical problems, but he is not brilliant at preventing them.

Just after he had finished telling us about how his Land-Cruiser is a top vehicle, having it for years and being very faithful, we hit a pot-hole at Kankumeng and the steering wheel starts to shake violently. John manages to pull the troop-carrier over, whence we all climb out to take a gander.

My first thought was that a front wheel was blown. But this was quickly established as being false, besides we would of heard a tyre going bang. John then grabs the front right tyre and manages to wobble it with minimal effort. I look underneath and notice that the tyre iron that controls the steering has come unstuck and rests now on the leaf suspension.

So much for Johns bragging. It made us laugh though as we told the story later over a SP in the club. Bragging one minute, climbing around in the dust and dark the next.

We called up George as soon as we realised that the job was substantial, got some wire, lashed the tyre iron up and limped the thing into a wantoks place.

The next morning ... with a slight headache ... I woke to find that my power was off. I chilled for a few hours and it still had not come on. Hmmm. I went next door to have a chat to Martin. He told me the story was that PNG Power were doing load shedding as they were doing maintenance work on a substation somewhere. According to Martin - the early bird he is - the power went off at 6 and had stayed off since. It was now 10:30. We both had a grumble. They had done this previously, with a two hours on two hours off arrangement. Not a four and half hours off, arrangement.

Just as I was heading out the door, I yelled out in vain to PNG Power, "Turn the bloody power on!". Lo and behold the power comes on as soon as I have finished saying it. Nice timing.

The power being off would become a saga and a bane over the course of the weekend, as they were not due to put it back on until Monday morning. My mate from Salamaua, Wendy, had come to town and rung up to see if she could crash at my place.

She rocked up around lunch time and we chatted. Later Roger turned up and so did Martin and we decided to have dinner in at the Lae International. It is great when people have cars, this time Rogers worked fine though.

The next day, it was another marathon power outage. For the entire day they had us turned off. Wendy wanted to use my iBook to edit it some DV footage that she had done of a volunteer getting a traditional tattoo and a sak-sak (sago) making. Luckily we could borrow martin's charged spare battery (he has an iBook as well) which he wasn't using. So the power being off didn't effect us.

Once she had finished the editing we had grandiose plans of creating a DVD on Martin's e-Mac in his office, as it has a Superdrive. I had previously bought some DVD-R's.

So at about four with the power still off at the house but apparently on in the academic area we headed off to burn some DVD's. Of course when we got there the power had switched over to being on at home instead. Bad timing this time.

We decided that we would do the burning first thing in the morning before I started work. Wendy would be catching the boat back to Salamaua in the afternoon, so had the morning to do things like this.

We all arrived down at the office and thankfully the power was on. This was the first time I had burnt a DVD using iDVD and I didn't realise just how long it takes to do the pre-encoding. It kept on going and going so much so that my alloted work time had past by half an hour. I told the others to let it run while I headed off to put my face in at work. I was keen to see what the finished product would look like so I told them to give me a ring when it had finished.

A bit later the power for the University went out and I got a call from Wendy and Martin just after that to say the DVD was still in the process of encoding when the power shut down. e-Macs don't have batteries and Martins UPS is playing up at the moment.

Argggg, more bad timing with this bloody PNG Power. Such is life in PNG.

As an aside, I have been trying to convince Wendy that she should do a Tropfest short film for the 2005 festival. The last time I saw her I gave her the guidelines for the festival and told her to think of a story and we would then shoot it on her DV camera. Well she has taken it on board and got a script written (a pretty trippy but good one I might add). So be sure to follow in future posts as I share the details of us trying to get a film together. Wendy is the director and I am producing, no working title yet - whatever all that means, sounds like I know what I am doing though. Anyway watch this space.

If you don't know this whole Tropfest obsession has flowed on from my Tropfest movie night earlier this year. As I have said before you have to make your own entertainment here.